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Full text of "The Thompson family"

BOSTON 
PUBLIC 
LIBRARY 




THE 



THOMPSON FAMILY 



By ADRIAN SCOTT 

BLACKSTONE, MASS. 
AND 

HENRY A. WHITNEY 

BELLINGHAM, MASS. 



PUBLISHED BY 

MENDON HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
1913 





BOSTON 
PUBLIC 
LIBRARY 




THE 



THOMPSON FAMILY 



By ADRIAN SCOTT 

BLACKSTONE, MASS. 
AND 

HENRY A. WHITNEY 

BELLINGHAM, MASS. 



PUBLISHED BY 

MENDON HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
1913 




C$11 
■pft 

1*1 j3*/ 



PRINTED BY 

TRANSCRIPT PUBLISHING CO. 

UXBRIDGE. MASS. 



« 



The Thompson Family 



The family name Thompson is an outcome of 
of the ordinary formation of personal and family 
names in the Scandinavian north. A man was 
known and described among the Norsemen as the 
"' son " of another man, and Thompson was, in its 
first form, Thomas'-son, then Tom's-son, and 
finally, with the possessive sign labialized, Tomp- 
son or Thomp-son. 

As Thomas is one of the most universal of 
names among Christian peoples; wherever the 
Norsemen made their forays on the coasts of 
Western Europe the name Thompson is found, 
without its implying relationship among families 
so called. In no country, however, were the Norse- 
men more firmly established in historic times, as 
intruders and conquerers, than in Scotland; no 
where else did their national influence persist 
longer; and in no other country are there so many 
families bearing the name of Thompson. 

In the case of the particular family, whose 
history is now in part traced, the first date which 
has yet been ascertained is that of a marriage record 
found at Plymouth, England, of the marriage of 
one David Thompson to Amyas Colle, July 13, 1613. 
Of this man we have, contemporary evidence that 
he was a Scotchman ; his wife's maiden name would 
lead us to infer that she, too, was of Scottish 
descent, if not Scottish born. Their presence in 
England is to be assigned to the moving causes 
whereby so many Scotch people of all classes of 
society emigrated to England during the first ten 



4 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

years after ECing James VI. of Scotland succeeded 
Queen Elizabeth, in 1603, as James I. of England. 
i ; or centuries England and Scotland had been hos- 
tile nations and bloody wars between them had 
been numerous. Friendly intercourse between their 
peoples had been greatly restricted, and the first 
influx of the new monarch's favorites and friends 
into England was bitterly resented by the English 
people. 

An amusing, but doubtless historically correct, 
picture of this time is given us in Sir Walter Scott's 
novel, ' The Fortunes of Nigel," which gives, in its 
text and notes, a most revolting picture of court 
and city life, as well as the morals and manners of 
the nobility and wealthier people. " And yet," that 
author proceeds to say, kk while that spirit of gen- 
eral extravagance seemed at work over a whole 
kingdom, another and very different sort of men 
were gradually forming the staid and resolved 
characters, which afterwards displayed themselves 
during the civil wars, and powerfully regulated and 
affected the character of the whole English nation." 

David Thompson appears to have been a man 
of this latter class. Undoubtedly a sea-faring man 
from early life, we have no knowledge of him, be- 
yond this date of marriage in 1613, until we meet 
with his name in connection with that of Sir Fer- 
dinando Gorges. This gentleman was born in 
Somersetshire, England, was an intimate of Lord 
Essex, served in the navy during the Spanish 
war, and was appointed governor of Plymouth, 
England, in 1604. He became interested in Ameri- 
can discovery and in union with his friends ob- 
tained from King James, in 1606, the incorporation 
of the Plymouth Company with a grant of land 
fifty miles inland between forty and forty-five de- 
grees North Latitude. An exploring ship sent out 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 5 

that year by Gorges was captured by the Spaniards. 
In May, 1607, three ships and 100 men were sent 
across and affected the beginning of a settlement 
at the mouth of the Kennebec River, near the 
present city of Bath, Maine \ but the experience 
of one Xew England winter disheartened those 
settlers and they returned to England the following 
Spring. 

For six years after this the Plymouth Com- 
pany appears to have made no further attempt 
to found a colony and it was not until 1614 that 
the company sent out a third expedition, this time 
under the lead of the redoubtable Captain John 
Smith. But, while Smith was an adventurer and 
explorer, his experience seven years before in 
founding the Virginia Colony had left him the less 
inclined to the business of forming settlements. 
He sailed from the Downs with two ships and 
forty-five men and boys on March 5, but returned 
and put in Plymouth. England, on August 5. of the 
same year. As T. A. Prince has it in his " Chro- 
nological History": "1614. August 5. Captain 
Smith puts into Plymouth, and in the end of the 
month arrives at London; draws a plat of the 
country, and first calls it Xew England." Sir Fer- 
dinando Gorges and others furnished him with two 
:her ships the following year and sixteen men were 
sent to form a settlement: but this expedition en- 
countered a great storm upon its departure which 
drove it back, and upon a second attempt the vessel 
commanded by Smith and carrying the setth 
encountered hostile French ships by which she was 
captured and taken to France. In 1616 vessels were 
sent across from Plymouth. England, to the Xew 
England coast, but only " for voyages of profit by 
fish and trade." In 1617: " Captain Smith is pro- 
vided with three good ships at Plymouth: and 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

fifteen men to stay and settle in Xew England; but 
being wind-bound three months, the voyage is 
frustrate. For which, and his other losses and dis- 
appointments about this country, the commis- 
sioners of the Plymouth Company contract with 
him to be admiral of Xew England for life.'' 
(Prince's Chronology, 1617.) 

It is altogether probable that David Thompson 
was engaged as sailor, fisherman, and settler, upon 
these various expeditions, after his marriage in 
1613. If it is possible to find the ancient shipping 
lists at Plymouth this surmise can be definitely 
settled; otherwise we may not be able to place him 
in the first seven or eight years after 1613. In the 
Spring of 1618, the Rev. T. Prince in his " Chro- 
nology ' says: "Two ships sail from Plymouth 
(Eng.), to fish at New England; one of 8o tons, 
which carries her fish to Bilboa; the other of 100, 
which returns, laden with fish, to Plymouth. 

But in this larger ship, Sir Ferdinando 
Gorges sends Captain Edward Rocroft, alias Stall- 
ings, with a company hired on purpose; who, at his 
arrival on the coast, meets with a small French 
bark of Dieppe, in a creek a-fishing and trading, 
and takes her, sends the Master with his company 
in the greater ship for England ; and with this bark, 
Rocroft and his company, intend to keep the coast 
this winter. But some of his men conspiring to kill 
him, and run away with the prize; he is. forced to 
put them ashore at Sawguateck (Sagadahoc, Me.) ; 
whence they soon get to the isle of Monahigon 
( Monhegan) fifteen leagues off, and three leagues 
in the sea, where they stay the winter. 

' But in December, Rocroft, with ten or twelve 
men, sail in the bark, with fish, to Virginia, there 
to trade and stay the winter." 

Again in 1619: " This Spring, Sir Ferdinando 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 7 

Gorges sends Captain Thomas Dermer from Ply- 
mouth (Eng.) in a ship of 200 tons for the fishing 
business at New England; assigning him a com- 
pany, to join with Rocroft and his people, and send- 
ing with him Squanto (or Tasquantum), one of the 
natives which Hunt had brought away (in 1614)." 
This Captain Dermer does some exploring and 
" Returning, arrives at Monahigan (Island of Mon- 
hegan, off the coast of Maine), June 23; where he 
finds the ship ready to depart. She had stayed 
about six weeks, and being laden by thirty-eight 
men and boys with fish and furs, returns. " 

In 1620: " This year, there go six or seven sail 
from the West of England to New England, to fish 
only." Sir Ferdinando's deputy, Captain Dermer, 
returns, but is set upon by savages and fatally 
wounded; he is taken to Virginia and there dies. 
For thirteen years Sir Ferdinand Gorges had been 
putting forth every exertion to establish a per- 
manent settlement of his countrymen within the 
royal domain granted him. He had been as- 
sisted by many powerful and wealthy friends and 
had been favored by royalty itself. But every at- 
tempt to make a permanent settlement had failed. 
But in the last days of this year (1620) by God's 
own Providence, and by no man's design, a little 
band of determined men and women were acci- 
dentally the means of a permanent settlement 
within Sir Ferdinando's grant at New Plymouth. 
The 101 Pilgrims under Governor Carver had in- 
tended to settle further southward within the 
limits of the Virginia Colony grant. As a matter 
of fact on November 3, 1620, about a week before 
these Pilgrims arrived at Cape Cod, King James 
had signed a Patent for the " Incorporation of the 
Adventurers to the Northern Colony of Virginia, 
between 40 and 48 degrees N." ; these adventurers 



8 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

being the Duke of Lennox, the Marquises of Buck- 
ingham and Hamilton, the Earls of Arundel and 
Warwick, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and thirty-four 
<»thcrs, and their successors; the royal patent styled 
them, The Council established at Plymouth, in 
the county of Devon, for the planting, ruling, order- 
ing, and governing of New England, in America." 
Of this company, however, Sir Ferdinando was the 
executive head. This is first in evidence in Sep- 
tember, 1621, when " Sir William Alexander, after- 
wards Earl of Stirling, having prevailed on King 
James to send to Sir Ferdinando to assign him 
(Sir William) part of the New England territory; 
Sir Ferdinand, being entrusted with the affairs of 
this country, advising with some of the company, 
yields that Sir William should have a Patent of 
the northeastern part of New England; to be held 
of the Crown of Scotland and called Nova Scotia." 
(T. Prince Chronology, 1621). Somewhat earlier 
in the year Sir Ferdinando in the name of the 
Adventurers had granted a patent to the Pilgrim 
settlers, in the name of Captain John Pierce, which 
fact became known to them about the 10th of 
November, 1621. 

Sir Ferdinando Gorges seems to have taken 
renewed courage at the success of the Pilgrims in 
withstanding two New England winters, and in 
April, 1622, sends out a new expedition under 
Master Thomas Weston of London, Merchant, 
whom he had given a patent for a plantation in 
the Massachusetts Bay. Weston sent out about 
sixty men as settlers and they arrived at New 
Plymouth about the first of July: "Master Wes- 
ton's people stay here the most part of the summer, 
while some seek out a place for them. They ex- 
ceedingly waste and steal our corn, and yet secretly 
revile us. At length their coasters return, having 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 9 

found in the Massachusetts Bay a place they judge 
fit for settlement, named Wichaguscusset, or Wesa- 
gusquasset, or Wesagusset (Wessaguscus is the 
spelling in the General Court's Manual), since 
called Weymouth." (Prince's Chronology, 1622.) 
This settlement at Weymouth endured only one 
winter and was given up in March, 1623. 

" Captain John Mason, who had been Governor 
of Newfoundland, Sir F. Gorges, and other gentle- 
men of Shrewsbury, Bristol, Dorchester, Plymouth, 
Exeter, and other places in the West of England, 
having obtained patents of the New England Coun- 
cil, for several parts of this country, they this 
spring (1623) send over Master David Thompson, 
or Tompson, a Scotchman, with Master Edward 
Hilton, and his brother, William Hilton, with 
others, to begin a settlement. And Master Tomp- 
son now begins one twenty-five leagues (about 
seventy-five miles) northeast from Plymouth, near 
Smith's Isles (Isles of Shoals) at a place called 
Pascatoquack. The place first seized is called the 
Little Harbour, on the west side of Pascataqua 
River, and near the mouth, where the first house 
is built called Mason Hall; but the Hiltons set up 
their stages higher up the river at Cochecho, since 
named Dover." (Prince's Chronology, 1623.) 

Whatever the nature of the services that David 
Thompson had performed for Sir Ferdinando 
Gorges for the ten years preceding 1623, there is no 
mistaking the honorable position in which he was 
placed by the commission now given him. It is 
said there is evidence that he had been the agent, 
or attorney, of the Council for New England in 
London (Memorial History of Boston, Vol. I., page 
83) and that he came with his wife and servants 
to his new home. In October, 1622, he received a 
grant from the new territory of ' 6,000 acres of 



10 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

land and one island in New England/' (Proceed- 
ings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, May, 
1876, page 358.) 

" In the middle of September (1623) Captain 
Robert Gorges, son of Sir Ferdinando, with Master 
W. Morell, an Episcopal minister, and sundry 
passengers and families arrive in the Massachusetts 
Bay to begin a Plantation there. Pitches on the 
same place (i.e., Wessaguscus, — Weymouth) 
Master Weston's people had forsaken (in the 
March previous), has a Commission from the 
Council for New England to be their Lieutenant 
General, or General Governor of the country; and 
they appoint for his council and assistance (i.e., 
assistants) Captain West, the aforesaid Admiral, 
Christopher Levit, Esq., and the Governor of Ply- 
mouth, for the time being. Giving him authority 
to choose others as he should think fit, with full 
power to him and his assistants, or any three of 
them, whereof himself to be one to do what they 
should think good in all cases, capital, criminal, 
civil, etc. He gave us notice of his arrival, by 
letter; and before we could visit him, sails for the 
eastward with the ship he came in ; but a storm 
rising, they bare into our harbour, are kindly enter- 
tained, and stay fourteen days. Shortly after, 
Governor Gorges goes to the Massachusetts by 
land, being thankful for his kind entertainment. 
(1624.) After Captain Gorges and Master Weston 
had been to the eastward, Master Weston comes 
again to Plymouth, then sails for Virginia. And 
Captain Gorges, not finding the state of things to 
answer his quality, with some who depended on 
him, returns to England. Some of his people go to 
Virginia, and some few remain, who are helped 
with supplies from hence." (T. Prince's Chronol- 
ogy.) These original settlers of Weymouth, there- 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 11 

fore, were quite distinct from the Pilgrims at New 
Plymouth; and this settlement at the entrance to 
Boston Harbor " dates from September, 1623, seven 
years earlier than the arrival of Governor Win- 
throp and his associates for the settlement of Bos- 
ton." 

Prince then goes on to say: "Within a year 
after Master David Thompson had begun a plan- 
tation at Pascataqua, he removes to the Massachu- 
setts Bay, and possesses a fruitful island, and a very 
desirable neck of land, which are after confirmed to 
him by the General Court of the Massachusetts 
Colony." As David Tompson was dead before the 
Massachusetts Colony came into existence, Mr. 
Prince probably here means that Tompson's Island 
was confirmed to his heir. This island has an area 
of 157 acres and is about eight miles from the spot 
where Governor Gorges made his residence; it is 
less than a mile distant from the shore of Dor- 
chester, of which place it became a part soon after 
its settlement in 1630; it is separated from the 
beach of that part of the original town of Braintree 
now the city of Quincy, by a narrow channel that 
is fordable at extreme low water. It is evident from 
Prince's account that David Thompson took up a 
second residence upon this island in order to exer- 
cise supervision over Gorge's settlers that had been 
left at Weymouth-Braintree; but he nowhere dis- 
tinctly says so, because, although he speaks very 
respectfully of Thompson, it is evident that the 
New Plymouth settlers did not regard the new 
settlements upon their borders, especially one with 
an Episcopal minister for its spiritual director, 
with any friendly eye. Under date of 1630, in 
describing " the state of the neighboring places on 
the Massachusetts Bay at their (Governor Win- 
throp and Company) arrival," Prince in his Chro- 



12 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

nology says: "On Noddel's Island (East Boston) 
lives Master Samuel Maverick, a man of a very 
loving and courteous behavior, very ready to enter- 
tain strangers. On this island (East Boston) with 
the help of Master David Thompson, he had built 
a small fort, with four great guns (cannon), to 
protect him from the Indians. On the south side 
of Charles River mouth, one point called Blaxton's 
Point, lives Master (William) Blaxton, where he 
only has a cottage. The neck of land from which 
the point runs, being an Indian named Shawmut, is 
afterwards Boston. To the southeast thereof, near 
Thompson's Island, live some few planters more. 
These were the first planters of those parts, having 
some small trade with the natives for beaver skins, 
which moved them to make their abode in those 
places, and are found of some help to the new 
Colony (i.e., Massachusetts Colony, 1630.) ' 

For a more definite relation of the connection 
between David Thompson and the Weymouth 
Settlement we must turn to Nathaniel Morton's 

' New England Memorial," printed at Cambridge, 
Mass., in 1669. Morton refers to Thompson as 

'a Scottish gentleman, — both a traveler and a 
scholar," who, upon coming to New England, 
brought with him his wife and a few servants. He 
died in 1628, leaving a wife, — who was one of those 
who contributed to the expense of Thomas Mor- 
ton's arrest (about September 1, 1630) by Captain 
Miles Standish, — and an infant son, to whom the 
island occupied by his father, — and which has 
ever since borne his name, — was subsequently 
granted by the General Court of Massachusetts." 
The Massachusetts Historical Society published, 
in 1837, Sir Ferdinando Gorges' "Description of 
New England." In this book he makes the follow- 
ing statement: 'My son, Robert Gorges, being 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 13 

newly come out of the Venetian War, was the man 
they (i.e., the Plymouth Council) were pleased to 
pitch upon, being one of the company, and was 
speedily sent away into the said Bay of Massachu- 
setts, where he arrived about the beginning of 
August following, anno 1623, that being the place 
he resolved to make his residence." The commis- 
sion or " patent " to " my son, Captain Gorges/' 
fills several pages and is signed by the five mem- 
bers of " the Council for the affairs of New Eng- 
land in America." Near the end of this instrument 
appears the following: " and lastly know ye that we, 
the said Council have deputed authority, and ap- 
pointed, and in our place and stead have put David 
Thompson, Gent., or in his absence any other per- 
son that shall be then Governor, or other officer 
unto the said Council, to be our true and lawful 
attorney." 

It is evident from the foregoing that from the 
departure of Captain Robert Gorges to England 
in the Spring of 1624, David Thompson was in the 
honorable and responsible position of Governor of 
all the settlements made in New England, under 
the oversight of the Council of Plymouth, and by 
reason of the patent granted to the Plymouth Com- 
pany. The Governor of the Pilgrim's settlement 
at New Plymouth was his subordinate and assist- 
ant. During the four years that intervened before 
his death in 1628, we have but one glimpse of the 
nature of the official duties belonging to him, and 
that is found in Prince's " Chronology." The New 
Plymouth settlement during the first seven or eight 
years of its existence had a hard struggle to obtain 
sufficient food from the soil to last during the 
season from harvest to harvest. Thus in 1623: 
" Middle of April. We begin to set out corn, the 
setting season being good till the latter end of 



14 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

May. But by the time our corn is planted, our 
victuals are spent, not knowing at night where to 
have a bit in the morning; and have neither bread 
nor corn, for three or four months together. 
Middle of July. Notwithstanding our great pains 
and hopes of a large crop, God seems to blast them, 
and threaten sorer famine by a great drought and 
heat, from the third week, in May to the middle of 
this month (July), so as the corn withers, both the 
blade and stalk, as if it were utterly dead. 

' Upon this, the Public Authority sets apart a day 
of Humiliation and Prayer, to seek the Lord in this 
distress, who was pleased to give speedy answer, 
to our own and the Indians' admiration. For 
though in the former part of the day it was very 
clear and hot, without a cloud or sign of rain, yet, 
towards evening, before the Exercise is over, the 
clouds gather, and next morning distil such soft and 
gentle showers, as give cause for joy and praise to 
God. They come without any thunder, wind, or 
violence, and by degrees ; and that abundance con- 
tinuing fourteen days, with seasonable weather, as 
the earth is thoroughly soaked, and the decayed 
corn and other fruits so revived, as it is astonishing 
to behold, and gives a joyful prospect of a fruitful 
harvest. At the same time Captain (Miles) Stan- 
dish, who had been sent by the Governor to buy 
provisions, returns with some, accompanied with 
Master David Tompson aforesaid. " 

The only possible interpretation of this last 
sentence is to understand it as meaning that the 
Plymouth Colony had appealed in its distress to its 
over-Governor, and sent him a message through 
Constable Standish; and that the over-Governor, 
in the person of David Thompson, responded by 
collecting supplies from the other minor colonies 
within his jurisdiction and accompanied them to 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 15 

Plymouth in order to officially inquire into the 
wants and distresses of the settlement there. There 
is one, somewhat similar, official act of his, recorded 
under the year 1626 in the " Chronology," which 
further illustrates the nature of his charge, and his 
prudence in husbanding resources: " 1626. This 
Spring. A French ship is cast away at Sagadehock, 
wherein are many Biscay rugs and other commodi- 
ties, which fall into the hands of the people at 
Monhiggon (Monhegan Island, off Maine coast), 
and other fishermen at Damarin's Cove. (Later, in 
the summer.) For wanting proper goods and un- 
derstanding, the plantation at Monhiggon, belong- 
ing to some merchants of Plymouth in England, is 
to break up, and divers goods to be sold; the Gover- 
nor (William Bradford, second Governor of Ply- 
mouth Colony), with Master (Edward) Winslow, 
take a boat, and with some hands go thither. Mas- 
ter David Thompson, who lies at Piscatoway, going 
with us, on the same design, we agree to buy all 
their goods and to divide them equally. Our 
Moiety (half) comes to £400. We also buy a par- 
cel of goats which we distribute to our people for 
corn, to their great content. We likewise buy the 
French goods aforesaid, which makes our part 
arise to above £500, and which we mostly pay with 
the beaver and commodities we got last winter, and 
what we had gathered this summer." 

This whole account is suggestive; for it shows 
Governor Thompson exercising sagacious foresight 
in preparing to secure the supply of food at Mon- 
hegan; a generous recognition of the proportionate 
claim of the Plymouth people, and no self-seeking 
in securing " the French goods." Undoubtedly 
the Pilgrims were, of all the colonists under his 
jurisdiction, the most agreeable to deal with in 
every way, and no doubt, likewise, Governor Wil- 



16 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

liam Bradford was his ablest and wisest assistant. 
We can only imagine his trials with unruly and 
treacherous colonists of a very different stamp. 
That his office w r as no sinecure is apparent from 
the foregoing evidences that he had to make con- 
tinual provision that actual starvation did not 
carry off some colony along the coast from year to 
year. But to this constant source of anxiety was 
added the riotous and dangerous character of some 
of the colonists. As soon as death had removed 
his repressive hand in the Spring of 1626, Thomas 
Morton and his company at Mount Wollaston 
openly began selling powder and fire-arms to the 
Indians, and offering a place of refuge to the vicious 
and criminals of all the colonies; until the latter 
united in soliciting Plymouth Colony to suppress 
Morton, subscribing for the expense of sending a 
force of armed men under Captain Standish to 
accomplish that purpose. Among the contributors 
to the expense appears the name of Mrs. David 
Thompson, and we are justified in inferring that 
this contribution was made, not from any abstract 
consideration of the moral question involved, but 
out of regard for her husband's memory, and to 
perpetuate a resistance to a seditious and dangerous 
society that he had long waged; and further, it 
may be, to revenge him for the anxieties that 
society had occasioned him, — anxieties that had 
helped hurry him to an early grave ; for it would not 
appear that David Thompson could have been 
above forty when he died. 

It would seem from the foregoing that David 
Thompson must have continued to live at Pisca- 
taqua, N. H., until the Fall of 1626. It may have 
been a determining reason with him for making 
a new home on his island in Boston harbor that he 
would there be in closer proximity to the Wey- 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 17 

mouth colony, an especial charge to him from his 
patrons, Ferdinando and Robert Gorges, father 
and son. His new home on Thompson's Island 
was less than a mile from the shore at Dorchester, 
eight miles from Weymouth, and not much more 
than a mile from that part of Braintree which is 
now Quincy. Prince in his " Chronology," under 
date of 1630, notices these Weymouth settlers in 
saying: "To the southeast thereof, near Thomp- 
son's Island, live some few planters more. These 
were the first planters of those parts, having some 
small trade with the natives for beaver skins ; which 
moved them to make their abode in those places, 
and are found of some help to the new Colony;' 
meaning the Massachusetts Colony founded in 
1630, by the arrival, at what is now Charlestown, 
during the month of July, of twelve ships bringing 
about 1500 English people under Governor Win- 
throp. The Massachusetts Colony at once assumed 
control of the Weymouth settlement, for at a meet- 
ing of its directors held September 28, 1630, out of 
a tax levy of fifty pounds upon the nine settlements, 
Charlestown, Boston, Dorchester, Roxbury, Water- 
town, Medford, Salem, Wessaguscus (Weymouth), 
and Nantasket, its part to be raised was two 
pounds, a sum that implies a population of about 
sixty persons. The same amount was assessed 
against Weymouth in 1631 (July 5), and five 
pounds, in a colony tax of sixty pounds, on Febru- 
ary 3, 1632. Notwithstanding this, when it was 
ordered by the General Court at Boston, May 8, 
1632, " There shall be Two of every Plantation to 
confer with the Court about raising a Public Stock," 
Weymouth made no choice that was reported. It 
may have seemed to her people that her interests 
were not so closely bound up with those of the 



18 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

Massachusetts Colony as to warrant taking part in 
that conference. 

On the twenty-fifth of October, 1632, " Gover- 
nor Winthrop, with Master Wilson, Pastor of 
Boston, and the two Captains, etc., go aboard the 
Lion (ship) ; and thence Master Pierce carries them 
in his shallop to Wessaguscus. Next morning, 
Master Pierce returns to his ship, and the Governor 
and his company go a-foot to Plymouth; and come 
thither in the evening." Prince then narrates the 
doings at Plymouth, where Winthrop and his party 
remained until October 31, when they started on 
foot, as they came, for Boston. ' So we come, this 
evening, to Wessaguscus; where we are comfort- 
ably entertained, as before, with store of turkeys, 
geese, ducks, etc. And next day we come safe to 
Boston." 

From this account we may conclude that the 
little Gorges settlement at Weymouth-Braintree 
was well-to-do and that the people were kindly 
disposed towards the new-comers at Boston. It 
became a town September 2, 1635, " the plantation 
of Wessaguscus " finally taking the name of Wey- 
mouth; while five years later, May 13, 1640, the 
town of Braintree was established, including the 
territory to the westward up to Dorchester. On 
the banks of the Monotoquett River in those days, 
on the Braintree side, lived a shoemaker named 
Thomas Thayer, whose second son was named Fer- 
dinando, after Sir Ferdinando Gorges; a rare in- 
stance of a child being named such a distinctively 
foreign name in those days; and pretty conclusive 
evidence that Thomas Thayer had been one of 
Gorges' settlers. Of this Ferdinando Thayer, it is 
moreover to be noted that he was one of the pioneer 
settlers of the new plantation at Nipmuck in 1662, 
afterwards named Mendon. He went there with 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 19 

some twenty-five or thirty other men from Wey- 
mouth and Braintree, one of the leaders of whom 
was a John Thompson, with whose lineage we are 
here dealing, and who we believe was the son of 
the Deputy Governor, David Thompson. 

We have seen that Governor Winthrop and 
his party, upon their arrival in Boston Harbor in 
July, 1630, found that: " On Xoddel's Island (now 
East Boston) lives Master Samuel Maverick, a man 
of a very loving and courteous behavior; very ready 
to entertain strangers. On this island, with the 
help of Master David Thompson, he had built a 
small fort, with four great guns, to protect him 
from the Indians." 

Not long after the death oi David Thompson 
in 1628, his widow, Amias (Colle) Thompson, 
married this Samuel Maverick and resided with him 
at East Boston. The date of the marriage is not 
known; but as " Samuel Maverick and wife Amias 
sold Messuage (dwelling house and lot) at Win- 
nisimmet (now Chelsea) and interest in the ferry, 
Februarv 27, 1634,'' it was sometime in the six vears 
that had elapsed since David's death. By him she 
had at least one child, a son, Xathaniel Maverick, 
whose name appears as ; their son and heir ap- 
parent " in the papers attesting the sale, by Samuel 
Maverick and wife Amias, of Xoddle's Island, their 
bake-house, mill, etc., in 1649. There is a notarial 
record in which David's son, John Thompson, calls 
Samuel Maverick, his step-father, ' father." in 
1646; and under date of November 25, 1649, Xa- 
thaniel Maverick made an agreement to repay his 
father, Samuel, " all monies that the latter should 
pay to John Thompson for him " (Xathaniel). A 
reasonable explanation of this agreement is that 
Xathaniel was about to enter into partnership with 
his half-brother, John Thompson, in the fishing 



20 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

business he was then conducting from Thompson's 
Island. In 1635 the town of Dorchester had peti- 
tioned the Massachusetts General Court that this 
island be granted to that town, and the petition was 
granted. In the Records of the Deputies of the 
Massachusetts Bay Colony (Vol. III., page 129), 
under date of the thirteenth of May, 1648, occurs 
a statement of the facts, and a reversal of the grant 
made thirteen years before, in the following terms: 

" Forasmuch as it appears unto this Court, 
upon the petition of Mr. John Thomson, sonne and 
heire of David Thomson, deceased, that the said 
David Thomson, in and about the year 1626, did 
take actual possession of an iland in the Massachu- 
setts Bay, called Thomsons Iland, and being then 
vacuum domicilium (uninhabited) and before the 
pattent graunted to us of the Massachusetts Bay, 
and did erect the forme of a habitation, and dyinge 
soone after, left the petitioner an infant, who, so 
soone as he came to age, did make his claime for- 
merly, and now agayne by his petition, this Court, 
consideringe the premises, and not willinge to de- 
prive any of their lawfull right and possession, or 
to permit any prejudice to the petitioner in the time 
of his nonage, doe hereby graunt the said iland, 
called Thomson's Iland, to the said John Thomp- 
son and his heires for ever, to belong to this juris- 
diction, and to be under the government and lawes 
thereof." 

In 1639 Dorchester laid a tax " upon the pro- 
prietors of this island for the maintenance of a 
school — those who paid rent numbered about one 
hundred and twenty and these included the prin- 
cipal part of the adult male inhabitants of the town 
(Dorchester) " (Boston Memorial History of 1880, 
page 429). The explanation of this is that the 
island was used, not for residences and tillage, but 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 21 

for sheds, wharves and other paraphernalia for 
catching, drying and shipping fish, a business that 
David Thompson had originated there in his brief 
occupation and " after John Thompson's title to 
the island had been confirmed by the action of the 
General Court in 1648, he evidently used it for the 
same purpose; for on the twenty-second of April, 
1650, he mortgaged it for £163 6 shillings to two 
merchants of Bistol in England, the debt to be paid 
in dried codfish." (Suffolk Deeds, Vol. I., page 

117 -) 

In this business venture we can imagine that 
young Thompson turned to his old friends at Wey- 
mouth and Braintree for assistants and tenants to 
the eviction and dispossession of the Dorchester 
renters. No doubt also at this time then, if not 
before, John Thompson took up his house in Wey- 
mouth, as he was married and had two or three 
children by this time. The people of Dorchester 
felt doubly aggrieved. ' The rental of £20 re- 
ceived for Thompson's Island had been applied for 
the maintenance of a school — said to be the first 
public provision made for the maintenance of a free 
school in America." This revenue was gone and its 
fishery station had passed into other men's hands. 
The family name of Thompson is not found in the 
Dorchester records of births, marriages, and deaths 
until 1700, and in the first volume of its town 
records, covering the period from 1632 to 1688, the 
name is found only in the following connection : 
In " an account of the disbursements of a rate of 
one hundred pounds ( £ 100) gathered in the year 
1652 for the use of the Town of Dorchester," one 
item is " in several sume laid out about the busi- 
ness of Thompson's Island, £1 10sh."; and in 
what seems to be the records of the selectmen " the 
10th day of the 11th mo. 1652," the following entry 



22 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

was made: " Memorandum, to propose to the town 
about suit in Court for Thompson's Island; " then 
follows the record, 'at a General Town meeting 
the 18th of the 11th mo., 1652, it was voted (with- 
out any contra dissent appearing) that there should 
be an endeavoring to obtain Thompson's Island 
again by another suit in Court." On June 29, 1652, 
at the solicitation of Samuel Maverick, an appraisal 
was made of Thompson's Island. (Record Commis- 
sion of Boston, Fourth Report, pages 311-13-14.) 
Whether he did this in alarm for the safety of ad- 
vances made to John Thompson on behalf of his 
son, Nathaniel Maverick, three years before, does 
not quite appear, but Dorchester lost its case before 
the Court, and thus phase of the long litigation, 
over Thompson's Island came to an end 
In 1653 we find John Thompson admitted as free- 
man at Weymouth an event that probably marks 
his final determination to separate from the Mav- 
erick interest. 

In the Massachusetts Deputies' Record 19, 
October, 1654, we have the entry: "A Indian, pre- 
ferring a petition to this Court, from Thompson's 
Hand, is referd for answer to a course of law in a 
Court of Justice." It does not appear that this 
claim was ever further pressed, and it looks like an 
endeavor upon the part of Dorchester men to in- 
validate the Thompson claim by an earlier one. 

However, on the fifteenth of February, 1657, 
John Thompson lost his island by the foreclosure 
of the mortgage made to Bristol parties in 1650, 
under the legal proceedings, it bringing but £150, 
which was considerably less than the sum awarded 
as the amount of the execution. The appraisers 
were Robert Sedswick and Richard Sprague. 

There is in the Suffolk County, Massachusetts, 
Record Wills (Vol. I., page 333) this entry: 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 23 

" Thomas White, aged about sixty years, and John 
Thompson, aged about fortie years, testifyeth and 
saith they were with Mrs. Annie Looman of Wey- 
mouth about six weeks since and ye same day that 
she dyed, and she was in perfect memorie : she made 
her will and made Hannah Jackson, her Grandchild, 
her Executrix and give two shillings to John Monti- 
cue, her grandchild, yt dwells at the Eastward and 
left all ye rest of her estate to Hannah Jackson, her 
Grandchild and appointed us two to be overseers 
to see it performed. 

21, 8, 1659 (Oct. 21, 1659). Thomas White. 

mark 

John V. Thomson. 

At a meeting of ye Magistrates 20th October, 1659, 
Thomas White and John Thomson on their Oaths 
affirmed that they heard Anne Looman declare 
what is above written to be her last Will and Testa- 
ment." 

From this document we learn John Thomson's 
age, and deduce from it that he was born in 1619, 
while his father and mother were still in England. 

The first appearance of the name of John 
Thompson in connection with a new settlement at 
Mendon is under date of 1662, 5th month, 22, where 
it is subscribed to the rules and regulations drawn 
up for the governance of the new " plantation 
granted at Netmocke (Nipmuc)." In the following 
year, 1663, 10, 30, a meeting was held at Dedham 
to push the business of actual settlement, which 
seems to have lagged. In the record of this meet- 
ing (Metcalfs Annals of Mendon) appear these 
statements: 

" John Thompson and Joseph White desire the 
renewing of their Grants. At this meeting of the 
Committee it was agreed that all the persons what- 



24 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

ever that shall be accepted to grants of lands shall 
be enjoined to be settled there with their families 
by the middle of November next 1664, upon penaltie 
of forfeiture of all their grants there and all Pub- 
licise charges disbursed there. John Thompson and 
Joseph White had their grants renewed. " 

It appears that John Thompson and his family 
formed one of the fifteen families that were actu- 
ally at Mendon on the twenty-fourth day of March, 
1664. (Metcalf, page 8.) 

Mendon was invested with : Towne Privi- 
lidges " at a General Court held in Boston, May 15, 
1667, and at the first Town Meeting on June 7 fol- 
lowing, John Thompson, Sr., was chosen one of the 
five Selectmen. 

July 14 he had a share allotted him in the divi- 
sion of ' all meadows within there lyne," and at a 
Town Meeting, September 17, he was chosen one 
of the two Surveyors. The names of John Thomp- 
son, Sr. and Jr., are appended to the proposals for 
the settlement of the Reverend Joseph Emerson as 
Minister under date of December 1, 1669. 

Jan. 1, 1671, John Thompson " ye elder " was 
again chosen one of the Selectmen. At this same 
Town Meeting, he was prominent in opposing 
Colonel William Crowne, who seems to have had a 
paramount influence in the town during the first 
ten years of its existence. Probably this opposition 
was the reason why Thompson had not been elected 
Selectman in the years 1668 to 1670, and why he 
again failed of re-election in 1672. He was chosen 
a third time in 1673; but in 1674 John Thompson, 
Jr., was chosen Selectman, and " John Thompson, 
senior, Chosen for to kepe an ordenery and pub- 
lique Hous of Intertainement (Metcalf, page 57). 
Metcalf says this was the first public house in Men- 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 25 

don and was located on the northwest corner of the 
four corners at the public watering-trough. 

King Philip's War was now at hand and before 
the close of 1675 Mendon had been burned and de- 
vasted by the local tribe of Nipmuc Indians. 

The Thompsons, like the rest of their fellow- 
townsmen withdrew to towns near Boston until the 
war was over; but they were among the first to 
return, and at the first Town Meeting, held Janu- 
ary 3, 1680, John Thompson, Jr., was chosen high- 
way surveyor, and at an adjourned meeting, Janu- 
ary 12, John Thompson, Sr., was chosen Selectman. 
He was re-elected January 2, 1681, but after that 
year his name does not appear in any town office. 
In the tax levy assessed January 11, 1685, to raise 
the Minister's salary, John Thomson is charged for 
one pound, seven shillings, four pence, only John 
Rockwood, Josiah Chapin, and Thompson's son-in- 
law, Samuel Hayward, paying more, out of 54 in- 
dividuals assessed. (Metcalf, pages 98, 99.) 

DAVID THOMPSON 1 , of Piscdiqua, Thomp- 
son's Island, Boston Harbor, & Weymouth, Mass. 
d. 1628. m. July 1613 at Pliymouth, England, 
Amyes Colle. She m. 2nd, 1627, Samuel Maverick. 

CHILD 

I. John 2 , b. 1619, d. Nov. 9, 1685, at Mendon. 
m. Sarah. 

John Thompson, Senior, son of David, died at 
Mendon, November 9, 1685, according to the Men- 
don Record. In Metcalf's Annals, John Thompson, 
Jr., second of the name, is now termed Senior, and 
John Thompson 3rd, born in 1667, appears as 
Junior. 



26 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

JOHN 2 THOMPSON (David 1 ) of Weymouth 
and Mendon, Mass. b. 1619. d. Nov. 9, 1685, at Men- 
don, m. Sarah 

CHILDREN 

I. JOHN 3 — b. 1642. d. 1715. m. Thankful 
Woodland. 

II. MEHITABLE 3 — m. in Medfield 1666, 
Samuel Hayward, son of William and Margery 
(Thayer) Hayward. He d. July 29, 1713. 

III. SARAH 3 — b. d. 1678. m. June 9, 1670. 
John Aldrich who was b. July 2, 1644, son of George 
and Catherine (Seald) Aldrich. 

THE WILL OF JOHN THOMPSON 2 (David 1 ) 

In the name of the Lord, Amen. I, John 
Thompson, Sr., of the Town of Mendon, being 
sensible of my own bodily weaknesses and infirmi- 
ties, the manifest alarms of my hastening and ap- 
proaching dissolution, acknowledge with all humble 
thankfulness divine goodness, affording such an 
opportunity whilst blest with a disposing mind to 
set my house in order before my Earthly Taber- 
nacle is dissolved, do make and constitute this my 
last Will and Testament. 

Imprimis. I willingly and cheerfully resign 
my soul unto God my maker, my body I bequeath 
unto the Earth, in hope of a future and glorious 
resurrection, decently to be inhumed, and that my 
funeral charges and expenses be discharged by my 
Executor hereafter named. 

Item. I give unto my beloved and loving wife, 
Sarah Thompson, whose great love and pains I pray 
God to be rewarded, ten pounds, to be paid by my 
Executor after my decease. 

Item. To my beloved daughter, Mihitabel 
Haywood, the wife of Samuel Hayward, I give and 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 27 

bequeath the sum of ten shillings, to be paid by my 
Executor within a full year after my decease. 

Item. To my beloved son-in-law, John Aid- 
rich, I give and bequeath the sum of five shillings 
to be paid by my Executor within a full year after 
my decease. 

Item. I constitute and appoint my beloved 
and dutiful son, John Thompson, my sole Executor, 
to whom (all debts and legacies, forementioned ex- 
cepted) I give and bequeath all my lands, chattels, 
household goods, wearing apparel and whatever 
other estate I dye seized of. 

(Signed.) JOHN THOMPSON, Sr. 

Signed this twenty-seventh of March, 1684, in 
the presence of Joseph White and Josiah Chapin. 

Probated by John Thompson 2 , April 27, 1686, 
in Boston. 



Extracts from " The Proprietors' Record of the 
Town of Mendon." (Transcript, page 129.) (Orig- 
inal Manuscript, page 90.) Spelling modernized. 

JOHN THOMPSON 

" John Thompson's house-lot containing forty 
acres, be it more or less, with all the rights and 
privileges thereunto belonging or apertaining is 
abutted and bounded as followeth: Easterly upon 
Muddy Brook; northerly from said Muddy Brook 
by a Town highway of four rods wide up to the 
Ten-rod highway, then by the house-lot of Joseph 
Juell (Jewel) unto the west corner; westerly upon 
Walter Cook's house-lot; southerly, partly upon a 



28 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

four-rod highway from Walter Cook's land to the 
ten-rod highway, from thence to Muddy Brook 
upon the house-lot of Joseph White. 

"The Doubling Lot, being forty acres, part of 
it being twenty acres laid out upon the Mill Plain, 
bounded as followeth : Southerly beginning with the 
land of Joseph Juell, and northerly upon the land 
of Joseph Stevens, east upon a runnel of water, and 
west upon Joseph Stevens' meadow; laid out by 
Jonathan Sprague with a two-rod highway across 
said lot, 28th March, 1673. Twenty acres more of 
said Doubling Lot, lying at the east end of his 
house-lot, bounded westerly upon Muddy Brook, 
southerly partly upon the land of Joseph White, 
and partly upon Common, easterly upon the Town's 
Common, northerly upon a Town highway of four 
rods wide leading to the Mill River." 

It is fitting here to briefly state the controversy 
that has arisen over the question whether John 
Thompson, son of David, and the Mendon proprie- 
tor, John Thompson, were identical. The argu- 
ment in the affirmative has been succinctly drawn 
up (by exclusion) by Mr. Thomas Hills of Boston, 
as follows: 

" The name of Thompson was common in New 
England in the early days. The record of Savage 
(James Savage) under that surname covers more 
than seven pages of his fourth volume. His given 
names in capitals indicate more than fifty persons 
of the first three generations of whose life he makes 
some record; of these more than twenty were 
named John. We know that the early settler of 
Mendon had a wife, Sarah, that he was survived by 
an only son of the same name as himself (John) 
and that he died in that town in 1685. 

Of the John Thompsons that Savage gives as 
heads of families, but seven are shown to have had 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 29 

sons of that name. Of these " Juniors " two died 
young, two were born subsequent to the settlement 
of Mendon, one born in 1651, might have met the 
conditions required but for the fact that his father 
died in 1657; but two remain to be accounted for. 
The one who was born in Stratford, Conn., in 1641, 
may fairly be dropped from consideration; the tide 
of emigration in the seventeenth century was from 
Massachusetts to Connecticut and did not set back. 
There remains only John of Concord, who with 
his son, John, born in 1642, could have been one 
of the founders of Mendon ; and he must be dropped 
from consideration, for he would have been of age 
in 1664, and would have shared with his father the 
honor of its settlement. But taking those in the 
whole list as given by Savage, who might have had 
a son John, and who could have met the conditions 
required to be the settler of Mendon in 1664, all can, 
for one reason or another, be ruled out except John 
of Concord, of whom so little is told that without 
other knowledge than that Savage imparts it can- 
not be said that the possibility of his being the 
early settler of Mendon does not exist. The full 
record of him reads : 

" THOMPSON, JOHN— Concord, may be he 
who came from London in the ' Elizabeth and 
Ann/ 1635, age 22; had John born 1642." 

So much for negative testimony. It is certain 
that John, son of David of Thompson's Island, is 
one of the few of that name who could have been 
of the band that began the settlement of Mendon. 
Savage says of him: 

"THOMPSON, JOHN, Dorchester (?), son 
of that David, the first settler known in Boston 
Harbor, had confirmation of his right to the island 
given by our General Court, 1648. In 1650 he 



30 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

pledged to two Bristol merchants the island for a 
large sum payable in codfish at Marblehead, or Isle 
of Shoals; but the creditors had it in 1658 by 
appraisement of Robert Sedswick and Richard 
Sprague for less than the amount of the execution. 
He, or another John, was of Weymouth the freeman 
of 1653." 

The insufficiency of Mr. Thomas Hills argu- 
ment arises from the fact that the completeness of 
Savage's lists is not assured. So far as it goes, it 
is conclusive, however, and adds to the probability 
of the two men being identical. John of Concord, 
22 years old in 1635, is excluded from identification 
with John of Weymouth, 1653, and Mendon settler 
in 1664, by the following document, which seems 
to have been unknown to Mr. Hills. 

' Suffolk Registry: Thomas White aged about 
sixty years and John Thomson aged about fortie 
years, testifyeth and saith, they were with Mrs. 
Anne Looman of Weymouth about six weeks since 
and ye same day that she dyed, and she was in per- 
fect memorie. She made her Will and made Han- 
nah Jackson, her Grandchild, her Executrix and 
give two shillings to John Monticue, her Grandchild 
yt dwells at the Eastward and left all ye rest of her 
Estate to Hannah Jackson her Grandchild and ap- 
pointed us two to be overseers to see it performed. 

21, 8, 1659. THOMAS WHITE. 

mark 
JOHN V. THOMSON. 

"At a meeting of ye Magistrates, 20th, Oc- 
tober, 1659, Thomas White and John Thomson on 
their Oaths affirmed that they heard Anne Looman 
declare what is above written to be her last Will 
and Testament." 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 31 

We have here an authoritative statement as to 
the age of the Mendon settler, undoubtedly made 
by himself. If he was 40 years old in 1659, he was 
born in 1619 and was 66 years old at his death in 
1685. 

When David Thompson died in 1627-8, this 
John Thompson was therefore eight or nine years 
old; and the objection has been raised that the 
decree of the Deputies, May 13, 1648, says " dyinge 
soon after, left the petitioner an infant." But in 
legal phraseology every person is an " infant " until 
21 years old; and three centuries ago the common 
use of the word " infant " extended to a much more 
advanced age than is now allowed. Even Samuel 
Johnson in his Dictionary (First Edition, 1755) de- 
fines " infant " as, "A child from the birth to the 
end of the seventh year," i.e. until around eight 
years old. 

Again it is plain that at the date of the Deputies' 
decree John Thompson had been of age some years ; 
while if the modern idea of a child only a few 
months old had been contained in the word " in- 
fant " he would not have been 21 years old at that 
date, and could not have presented his petition. 

In Aspinwall's " Notarial Records ' (pages 
137-8) he defines himself as: 

" I, John Thompson, mariner, master of the 
"Elizabeth" of New England, etc., do bind my- 
selfe, mine heires, executors and administrators, 
and in particular my island, lyeing in Massachusetts 
Bay neere Dorchester, called by the name of 
Thompson's Island, etc.," under date of April 22, 
1650. 

To be master of his ship at 30 years of age, he 
must have been following the sea for many years, 
and his occupation is sufficient reason to account 
for his petition not being more seasonably pressed. 



32 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

Nothing yet, in the shape of documentary evi- 
dence, has been advanced that militates in the 
slightest degree against the probability that John 
Thompson, son of David, once owner of Thomp- 
son's Island, was the same man made freeman at 
Weymouth in 1653, who became a pioneer settler 
of Mendon in 1664, and who died there in 1685. He 
left one son of his own name; but that son had six 
sons to perpetuate the Thompson name and these 
again had many sons in the fourth generation, 
many of these people being eminent in town affairs, 
or other interests of the Mendon community. The 
names of fifteen different members of this family 
appear in the Proprietors' Record of that Town, and 
there are a goodly number of descendants still re- 
siding within the ancient boundaries of the Town. 
Now, when Mr. Preserved Smith Thayer was col- 
lecting memoranda of family history from Mendon 
people between 1825 and 1850, he found, and 
recorded in his notes, that the older Thompsons had 
the family tradition of John Thompson, 1st, having 
once owned Thompson's Island in Boston Harbor. 
When we consider that Mr. Thayer may easily have 
conversed with aged people who remembered and 
in their turn had conversed with John Thompson, 
Senior's, grandsons, the tradition acquires the value 
of oral testimony transmitted through four mouths. 
There is an inherent improbability that such a tra- 
dition could have arisen contrary to fact; and al- 
though family traditions are often found to be un- 
reliable in their elaborate particulars, direct state- 
ments of this kind are not to be rejected lightly, 
and are generally found to be true. No other 
branch of the Thompson name has yet been re- 
ported as thus traditionally claiming descent from 
John of the Island. 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 33 

We have seen that John Thompson, Senior, 
had his home in Mendon Village where his " house- 
lot " and " doubling-lot " together gave him a farm 
of sixty acres in one field at the very center of the 
village. In the successive divisions of the common 
land, his son and afterwards his grandsons acquired 
land in the Charles and Mill River valleys in what 
are now the towns of Bellingham and Blackstone. 
An ancient cemetery exists in North Bellingham 
where stones bear inscriptions with the Thomp- 
son name nearly two centuries old by their dates. 
John Thompson, 2nd and 3rd, are supposed to be 
buried there. No will of John Thompson, 2nd, has 
been found. His son -Pr^njnmiy^had land upon both <£<£c<M^t4 
sides of Mill River and by two wives had 13 chil- (J 

dren. One of these, Edward, who married the gifted 
Quaker preacheress, Margaret Aldrich, although 
he died at the early age of 30 years, left a long- 
enduring reputation in the community as a Chris- 
tian gentleman. 

John 3 THOMPSON (John 2 David 1 ) of Wey- 
mouth and Mendon, Mass. He was born in 1642, 
died 1715. m. Thankful Woodland, who was bp. 
Dorchester, 9-6-1646, dtg. of John and Martha 
Woodland. 

CHILDREN 

I. JOHN 4 — b. Dec. 25, 1667, d. Sept. 18, 1739, 
m. Hannah Wight, b. 1667, d. Nov. 24, 1759, daugh- 
ter Samuel and Hannah (Albee) Wight. 

II. SARAH 4 — b. May 12, 1669. 

III. EBENEZER 4 — b. Oct. 1, 1677, d. 1747, 
m. 1697 Susannah (Rockwood) Hinsdale, m. May 
11, 1713, Dorothy Fairbanks. 



34 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

IV. SAMUEL 4 — b. Feb. 4, 1679, d. Oct. 10, 
1 704. 

V. WOODLAND 4 — b. Jan. 7, 1681, m. Char- 
ity Tvvitchel, dtg. Joseph Twitchel of Sherborn. 

VI. BENJAMIN 4 — b. Sept. 17, 1684, in. 
Sarah . 

VII. DAVID 4 — b. May 24, 1687, m. Jan. 11, 
1711, Mercy Thayer, b. Nov. 2, 1693, dtg. Isaac and 
Mercy (Ward) Thayer. 

VIII. HANNAH 4 — b. Aug. 3, 1689, m. in 
Boston Sept. 25, 1717, Samuel Hayward, b. Nov. 22, 
1696, son William and Esther (Harbor) Hayward. 

EBENEZER 4 THOMPSON (John 3 , John 2 , 
David 1 )— b. Oct. 1, 1677, d. 1747, Res. Mendon, 
m. 1st about 1697, widow of Samuel Hinsdale of 
Medfield, who was Susannah Rockwood, dtg. of 
Samuel and Hannah (Ellis) Rockwood of Med- 
field, m. 2nd May 11, 1713, Dorothy Fairbanks of 
Medfield, dtg. George, Jr., and Susannah Fair- 
banks. 

CHILDREN — FIRST WIFE 

I. EBENEZER 5 — b. Feb. 16, 1698, m. 1st 
Abigail , 2nd, Sarah Green. 

II. SUSANNAH 5 — b. Feb. 29, 1700. 

III. ELEAZER 5 — b. March 15, 1702, d. Feb. 
9, 1754, m. 1st, Hannah Daniels, 2nd, March 6, 
1750, Sarah Wight. 

IV. ABIGAIL 5 — b. July 23, 1704, m. 1724, 
Job. Patridge, b. 1698, son Eleazer and Elizabeth 
(Smith) Partridge. 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 35 

V. JOSEPH 5 — b. Oct. 23, 1706, d. Nov. 15, 
1706. 

VI. BENONI 5 — b. Nov. 18, 1708, d. Nov. 25, 
1708. 

VII. MEHITABLE 5 — b. Feb. 13, 1710, m. 
Benjamin Rockwood, b. May 8, 1711, son Joseph 
and Mary (Hayward) Rockwood, she was Benj. 
Rockwood's 2nd wife, 1st wife being Margaret 
Green who d. Oct. 9, 1739, sister of Sarah Green, 
2nd wife of her brother Ebenezer 5 . 

CHILDREN — SECOND WIFE 

VIII. EZRA 5 — b. Feb. 16, 1714, m. 

Rockwood. 

IX. JOHN 5 — b. June 5, 1715. 

X. DEBORAH 5 — b. Oct. 16, 1717. 

XL ELISHA 5 — b. Feb. 14, 1719, m. 1759, 
Hannah Thayer, b. 1724. 

XII. EDWARD 5 — b. Sept. 4, 1720, d. Feb. 
26, 1750, m. Margaret Aldrich, b. April 25, 1723, 
dtg. David and Hannah (Capron) Aldrich. 

XIII. DOROTHY 5 — b. Aug. 5, 1722. 

THE WILL OF EBENEZER THOMPSON 4 
(John 3 , John 2 , David 1 ) 

In the Name of God, Amen, the Ninth Day 
of October in the year of our Lord, 1747. I, Eben- 
ezer Thomson of Mendon, in the County of Wor- 
cester and Province of the Massachusetts Bay in 
New England, yeoman, being weak by reason of 
age, together with languishing sickness, but of a 
perfect mind, thanks be given to God therefor. Call- 



36 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

ing to mind the mortality of my body and knowing 
that it is appointed to all men once to die, I do 
make and ordain this my last Will and Testimony: 
That is to say, prinsaply and first of all, I give and 
recommend my soul into the hands of God that 
gave it, hoping through the merits of my Saviour 
Jesus Christ to have the free pardon of all my sins 
and to inherit everlasting life and my body I com- 
mit to the earth to be decently buried at the descres- 
sion of my son, Edward Thomson, according to the 
method of the place where he lives, and nothing 
doubting but at the general Resurection I shall re- 
ceive the same again by the mighty power of God ; 
and as touching those worldly goods and estate as 
herewith it hath pleased God to bless me with, in 
this life, I give, demise and dispose of the same in 
the following manner and form. That is to say, 
first, I will that all those dues and debts which I owe 
in right of concience to aney manner of person 
whatsoever shall be well and truly paid in a con- 
venient time after my decease by my son, Edward 
Thomson. 

Item: I give and bequeth to Dorothy, my be- 
loved wife, my great Bible and her thirds in all my 
improvable estate, boath real and personal, during 
her life, and one-half of my movables that are in 
the house, I mean my housel goods, I give to my 
wife to be at her own disposing; the other half I 
give to my daughter, Deborah Hall, after my de- 
cease, or to my said daughter's heirs, in case she 
should decease before me, said goods to be equily 
divided between my wife and daughter imediate 
after my decease : 

In the next place I give to my eldest son, 
Ebenezer Thomson, and to my second son, Eleazar 
Thomson, and to my third son, Ezra Thomson, and 



THE THOMPSON FAMILY 37 

Mehetable Rockwood's children, who was a 
daughter of mine, being now deceased, and to my 
daughter, Deborah Hall, equily together, two cer- 
tain pieces of land lying in said Mendon, near Bell- 
ingham line, on the East side the Mill River, con- 
taining about one hundred acres — excepting ten 
acres on the southermost side of the southermost 
piece of said land which I give to my son, Elisha 
Thomson, — my deceased daughter's children, all 
of them to have one share equil to one of the rest. 

Furthermore, I do likewise constitute and or- 
dain my son, Ezra Thomson, my only and sole 
Executor of this my last Will and Testament and 
I do hereby utterly disalow and disanul all and 
every other and former Testaments and Wills, lega- 
cies and execution, by me before in aney ways, 
named, willed and bequeathed, rattifled and con- 
firmed. 

This and no other to be my last Will and 
Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto 
set my hand and seal, the day and year above writ- 
ten and in the twenty-first year of his Majesty's 
Reign, annoque 1747. 

[Seal.] EBENEZER THOMSON. 

his hand and seal signed, sealled, published, pro- 
nounsed and declared by the said Ebenezer Thom- 
son as his last Will and Testament in the presents 
of us, 

her 
PROVIDED X GASKILL, 

mark 
DAVID POND. 

EBENEZER 5 THOMPSON (Ebenezer 4 , 
John 3 , John 2 , David 1 ) of Bellingham, m. 1st, Abi- 



38 THE THOMPSON FAMILY 

gail , 2nd, Nov. 2, 1727, Sarah Green, dtg. 

John and Lydia (Lenesford) Green of Milford. 

CHILREN — FIRST WIFE, BORN IN BELLINGHAM 

I. MOSES 6 — b. March 28, 1727. 

II. SETH 6 — b. Sept. 3, 1728. 

III. JEMIMA 6 — b. Oct. 5, 1730, m. Nov. 22, 
1750, Thomas Albee, son James and Mary (Thayer) 
Albee. 

IV. HULDAH 6 — b. April 26, 1733, m. July 
4, 1754, Ebenezer Thayer. 

V. ABIGAIL 6 — b. May 31, 1736, d. Jan. 16, 
1776, m. March 18, 1760, Ebenezer Cheney. 

CHILD — SECOND WIFE 

VI. BEULAH 6 — b. July 17, 1739. 



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